Luckless Knights utility Dylan Phythian has piled on around 10 kilograms in the gym and his return from a second knee reconstruction is more than a month ahead of schedule after getting through a “long,painful,lonely year” on the sidelines.
Phythian is optimistically aiming for a round one return with the rehabilitation on his left knee progressing far better than expected but round three shapes as a more realistic goal for the 22-year-old.
Knights high performance boss Tony Ayoub said the initial prognosis was anywhere between round six and round nine.
“They think I’m progressing pretty quickly which is great news,”Phythian said.
“I thought round five or round six but they say I’m now pushing for round one which is all pretty exciting.
“But I’m not getting too far ahead of myself and if it is longer than that for a bit of extra recovery then I’m happy with that.
“Hopefully, everything goes to plan from here.”
This time 12 months ago, Phythian was preparing to play fullback for the first time in the NRL after making a surprise top-grade debut for the club as a hooker in 2016.,
But that round one clash against the Warriors in New Zealand turned into a nightmare after he snapped the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee for the second time.
After making the decision to have bone grafts to fill the initial holes from the first surgery, his second reconstruction operation was delayed until last August but specialists believe the ultimate outcome will be a far more stable knee.
“It’s been a long, painful, lonely year but now that I’m finally back out there doing fitness with the boys, I finally feel a part of it again,”he said.
“Mentally, it has probably been harder coming back this time but I’m getting my head around it now and the confidence is coming back.
“I’m just looking forward to getting on the field now and making that first tackle and getting tackled. That will be something different.”
After starting last season at 91kgs, Phythian began pre-season at 102kgs and is now back to 99.
“It should be easier playing with more weight on hopefully,”he said.
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